CAPRA MEETING, March 4, 2011

Attending:  Paul Bingham, Melanie Bonnette, Jackie Collier, Shmuel Einav, Kane Gillespie, Bill Godfrey, Norm Goodman, Ben Hayashi, Gene Katz, Larry Wittie
Guest:  Mark Maciulaitis

Budget discussion

Mark Maciulaitis provided a series of tables describing the budget situation for the past few years.  He pointed out that President Stanley’s aim is to make the administration as lean as possible by using the analysis currently underway by the Bain group.  It is intended that these savings in the administrative areas will be used to offset cuts in the academic sector.  There is some discussion about increasing tuition and rates for different segments of the student population (e.g., undergraduates taking more than 15 credits, out-of-state undergraduates, and in-state and out-of-state graduate students).

The cuts to the University Hospital is so drastic that it is entirely possible that any restoration of funds will be directed to reversing that situation and thus not available for more general budgetary relief for the other cuts to the campus.

One justification offered for the magnitude of the cuts is that SUNY campuses have reserve funds that can be drawn upon to offset at least part of these cuts.  Generally, that refers to IFR and SUTRA funds.  Mark pointed out that the combination of these two at Stony Brook is about $6 m while at Buffalo it is $80 m.  Also, these funds are generally committed to projects.

President Stanley’s office is working to coordinate political efforts to restore the cuts.  Neither he nor Provost Kaler believes that it wise to implement “across the board” cuts that will weaken all elements of the campus.  Instead, they believe that cuts must be targeted and involve eliminating whole departments/programs.  Provost Kaler has set up a committee of faculty and administrators to discuss such cuts.  CAPRA will be represented on this committee by Jackie Collier and Norm Goodman.  The other faculty members will be selected in consultation with the appropriate governance bodies.

The budget problems of New York State are quite serious due to a high unemployment rate that both reduces tax revenues and requires social service expenditures.  Also, Wall Street bonuses that contribute to state tax revenues, though relatively high, are still lower than previously.  It was suggested that two actions by Governor Cuomo could eliminate the budget shortfall and obviate the necessity of the drastic cuts being proposed:  continuation of the income surtax on high income earners and a stock transfer tax. 

Other business

Norm urged the subcommittees to be prepared to report on their work at our next meeting.